Antti Larvala, the co-founder and current CEO of Finland’s Onlinesignature Ltd, is sure that signing contracts online will be a big business in the coming years. Larvala’s company is behind the service Onnistuu.fi, which is a service aimed at handling both consumers’ and businesses’ signature needs online. Onnistuu.fi is thus competing in the same space with Signom, a Finnish company aiming to digitize signatures (and for full disclosure; our sponsor for this autumn).

Larvala and their company is on a roll and are currently looking at expanding their sales with resellers in both Sweden and the Baltics. In other words, they’ve got their first iteration of the service ready and able to begin sales with it. Furthermore, Larvala told me that they’re in talks with certain public sector organisations – mainly communes with regard to use of their product in streamlining contract agreements.

Onnistuu.fi is aimed at consumers and businesses that can do with the regular service. On top of this, they are able to provide a white label service for bigger customers. Onnistuu.fi works in a very simple manner. To begin with, you register to the service with your name and bank credentials – this tells the service in a trustworthy manner who you really are. Once you’re in the service, you’re able to upload and send a document through the service to the other party that you want to sign it. Onnistuu.fi sends the document and verifies the person in a similar manner through bank credentials. After this, the document is stored in the sender’s document bank.

According to Antti Larvala, they want to specialize and focus in the process of getting the signature handling done in the best possible manner. They’re even in talks with an European IT company to take care of the document bank for them. Currently, the payment logic follows that of postage systems’, ie. the sender pays the bill. Prices for signatures vary currently from 0,75€ to 1,75€ based on the volume.

Even though sales are slowly picking up for Antti Larvala and his crew, they are looking for funding in the range of 150-200k€ for growing the company. The service has been developed in co-operation with the Finnish development house Brain Alliance, which is also a share holder in the company.

With Signom and Onnistuu.fi coming into the online signature space in such a limited time, it seems that the winners will be determined (at least on the Finnish market) in the coming two years, the latest. Something I see as slightly alarming, as a follower of these two companies, is the lack of openness to some degree. Why is this? Well, as these sort of companies begin to all develop their own methods of signature approval and acceptance, the industry will be craving for standards to alleviate the pain at the buyer’s end.

You want to make sure you’re not tied to the supplier of the service forever – also, you need to be able to pull your documents out of the service in case you do decide to change suppliers. For big companies, this might become a big thing to lower risk of adoption. In the end, these are very sensitive areas of business and the lower the risk – the better it is for the whole industry. Nevertheless, this is an industry that will certainly grow, the question is simply – at what pace.

Photo by Bright Meadow